Ground will be broken next week on a 120-unit apartment complex beyond the home run fence of the city’s minor league baseball stadium.
The $22 million project will provide South Bend baseball fans with a Wrigley roof-top type experience.
“We’re going to have a 15,000 square foot entertainment complex on top of building number one, four buildings, and there will be gardens, fire pits and a restaurant and a bar and stadium seating up there,” said South Bend Cubs owner Andrew Berlin who adds the roof top facility will accommodate as many as 500 fans.
“I think the new rooftops are going to help drastically I mean that's another 30,000 people a year in capacity that we can add to the ballpark,” said South Bend Cubs President Joe Hart. “It’ll be a combination of some individual tickets; it’ll probably be a combination of companies doing hospitality events out there.”
Lately, the Cubs have a harder time accommodating fans than attracting them.
For both the 2015 and 2016 seasons the team’s average attendance was over 5,000 fans a game—therefore higher than the seating capacity at Four Winds Field.
The team has set all time high attendance records in each of the past three years and officials believe they can do it for a fourth what with the World Series win of the parent club.
“Our season ticket sales are up almost 20 percent,” said Joe Hart, adding that the sale of single game tickets was up 10 to 12 percent with the most popular game being April 20th when the Cubs World Series trophy returns to town.
In 2016, attendance topped 350,000 fans. Continued growth could give them something new to cheer about.
“If we're able to break that ‘400 mark’ that's the magic number for us for further development,” said Andrew Berlin. “We can add a second level.
The way the stadium has been built, we confirmed by our architects, the way the stadium was originally built you can actually raise the roof of the concourse and add a second level, however, it's a multi-million dollar investment and that's an investment that we have to be very careful about.”
Berlin says adding an upper deck would create 3,000 additional seats.
The South Bend Cubs home opener is just 26 days away. This season fans will run into some construction related detours on the way to their seats.